Jack Gilbert, Emmy Hennings, Mori Ōgai, Gustavo Bécquer, Georg Britting, Andrew Paterson, Margaret Truman, Ruth Rendell, Fjodor Sologoeb

De Amerikaanse dichter Jack Gilbert werd geboren in Pittsburgh op 17 februari 1925. Zie ook alle tags voor Jack Gilbert op dit blog.


The Forgotten Dialect Of The Heart

How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,
and frightening that it does not quite. Love, we say,
God, we say, Rome and Michiko, we write, and the words
get it all wrong. We say bread and it means according
to which nation. French has no word for home,
and we have no word for strict pleasure. A people
in northern India is dying out because their ancient
tongue has no words for endearment. I dream of lost
vocabularies that might express some of what
we no longer can. Maybe the Etruscan texts would
finally explain why the couples on their tombs
are smiling. And maybe not. When the thousands
of mysterious Sumerian tablets were translated,
they seemed to be business records. But what if they
are poems or psalms? My joy is the same as twelve
Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light.
O Lord, thou art slabs of salt and ingots of copper,
as grand as ripe barley lithe under the wind’s labor.
Her breasts are six white oxen loaded with bolts
of long-fibered Egyptian cotton. My love is a hundred
pitchers of honey. Shiploads of thuya are what
my body wants to say to your body. Giraffes are this
desire in the dark. Perhaps the spiral Minoan script
is not laguage but a map. What we feel most has
no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses, and birds


In Dispraise Of Poetry

When the King of Siam disliked a courtier,
he gave him a beautiful white elephant.
The miracle beast deserved such ritual
that to care for him properly meant ruin.
Yet to care for him improperly was worse.
It appears the gift could not be refused.


Jack Gilbert (17 februari 1925 – 13 november 2012)


De Duitse dichteres, schrijfster en caberetiere Emmy Hennings werd geboren op 17 februari 1885 in Flensburg. Zie ook alle tags voor Emmy Hennings op dit blog.

Uit: Das Brandmal

„Im Namen des Namenlosen will ich beginnen, obgleich ich mich so weit von ihm entfernt fühle. Gerade aus diesem Grunde: in seinem Namen. Das Namenlose ist die erste und letzte Ursache meines Daseins. Ich ahne es als die Ursache des Daseins aller Menschen. Das ist nur meine gläubige Vermutung, sonst nichts. Ich aber will über meine eigene Ursache sinnen, über mich, denn ich bin noch nicht über mich hinausgekommen.
Ich sehe ja immer nur mit meinen eigenen Augen. Ich darf mich nicht darüber täuschen und sagen, ich sähe mit den allgemeinen Augen. Ich glaube nicht, daß jemand seine persönlichen Augen bei Lebzeiten auswechseln kann.
Das Verlangen, alles umfassen zu wollen, ist eine Sucht, nur meine Sehnsucht, sonst nichts. In Wahrheit aber kann ich nichts mehr begreifen, nichts halten, nichts fassen. Es ist, als löse sich alles.
Wie lange doch hat es gedauert, bis ich dahin gekommen bin, mir eines Tages einzugestehen: ich bin ein ungeordneter Mensch.
Hat mich ein Fall, ein Zufall verführt zum Bekenntnis? Mein Gott ist kein Zufall. Die Ewigkeit kann ich nicht Zufall nennen. Und doch war mir, als sei der Zufall mein Schicksal geworden.
Der Zufall kann wohl kein Grund zu einer Umwälzung sein. Es gibt so viele Zufälle.
Ich bin eine Frau. Ich hebe die Kontrolle auf. Die Frage nach dem »Warum« und »Woher«.
Ich gestehe nur das »Wie«.
Wie war es?
Jeder Anlaß war mir ein Abgrund, ich bin nicht erst heute gefallen. Erst heute merke ich, daß ich immer gefallen bin. Jetzt aber, da ich unten bin, – vielleicht kann ich nicht tiefer kommen –, sehe ich: ich bin gefallen. Meine Geburt war der Fall eines Engels, der von Gott abfiel, und jetzt suche ich wieder …
Um die Gegenwart zu erhellen, gedenke ich der Vergangenheit. Die Erinnerung lebt in mir, nach Tagen, Monaten, Jahren, immer. So ist es und wird es sein. Die Tatsachen, wie man die sichtbaren Handlungen in der Welt nennt, sind belanglos geworden. Nur das geistige Erleben und Wiedererleben rollt weiter. Nur die empfindsame Illusion ist es. Denn wenn ich vollkommen erleben könnte, wäre ich da nicht bei der ersten Begegnung mit dem ersten Erlebnis geblieben? Zusammengebrochen? Das Leben hat mich wohl nur gestreift, berührt. Daß man das Leben überleben kann! Wie schmerzhaft und empfindsam bin ich jetzt stecken geblieben! Stecke ich im Leben? Was meine Augen gesehen haben, hat mir nicht so weh getan, als was mein Herz, oder was immer es sein mag, fühlt.“ 


Emmy Hennings (17 februari 1885 – 10 augustus 1948)


De Japanse schrijver Mori Ōgai werd geboren op 17 februari 1862 als Mori Rintaro in het dorpTsuwano in Iwami. Zie ook alle tags voor Mori Ōgai op dit blog.

Uit: The Dancing Girl (vertaald door Richard Bowring)

“But it is so deeply engraved upon my heart that I fear this is impossible. And yet, as there is no one here this evening, and it will be some while before the cabin boy comes to turn off the light, I think I will try to record the outline of my story here. Thanks to a very strict education at home since childhood, my studies lacked nothing, despite the fact that I lost my father at an early age. When I studied at the school in my former fief, and in the preparatory course for the university in Tokyo, and later in the Faculty of Law, the name Ota Toyotaro was always at the top of the list. Thus, no doubt, I brought some comfort to my mother who had found in me, her only child, the strength to go through life. At nineteen I received my degree and was praised for having achieved greater honor than had any other student since the founding of the univer-sity. I joined a government department and spent three pleasant years in Tokyo with my mother, whom I called up from the country. Being especially high in the estimation of the head of my department, I was then given orders to travel to Europe and study matters connected with my particular section. Stirred by the thought that I now had the opportunity to make my name and raise my family fortunes, I was not unduly sorry to leave even my mother, although she was over fifty. So it was that I left home far behind and arrived in Berlin. I had the vague hope of accomplishing great feats and was used to work-ing hard under pressure. But suddenly here I was, standing in the middle of this most modern of European capitals. My eyes were dazzled by its bril-liance, my mind was dazed by the riot of color. To translate Unter den Lin-den as “under the Bodhi tree” would suggest a quiet secluded spot. But just come and see the groups of men and women sauntering along the pave-ments that line each side of that great thoroughfare as it runs, straight as a die, through the city. It was still in the days when Wilhelm I would come to his window and gaze down upon his capital. The tall, broad-shouldered officers in their colorful dress uniform, and the attractive girls, their hair made up in the Parisian style, were everywhere a delight to the eye. Car-riages ran silently on asphalt roads. Just visible in the clear sky between the towering buildings were fountains cascading with the sound of heavy rain. Looking into the distance, one could see the statue of the goddess on the vic-tory column. She seemed to be floating halfway to heaven from the midst of the green trees on the other side of the Brandenburg Gate. All these myriad sights were gathered so close at hand that it was quite bewildering for the newcomer.”


Mori Ōgai (17 februari 1862 – 9 juli 1922)
Plaquette voor een hotel in Tokyo


De Spaanse dichter Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer werd op 17 februari 1836 in Sevilla geboren. Zie ook alle tags voor Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer op dit blog.


The Siren

A momentary indiscretion,
And the vision of your fluttering lids
Is burned forever in my mind
Like a dark spot, edged in fire,
For staring at the sun.

Now, wherever I look,
I’m haunted by those flaring pupils,
But it’s only your afterimage, not you,
Your sunspot eyes and nothing more.

Alone in my room, I stare
At the ceiling and try to forget,
But even when I sleep, I feel your phantom gaze,
Doe-eyed and fluttering.

I know there are things in the night
That call unwary dreamers to their doom.
Still, I am drawn to you,
To your eyes edged in fire,
Though where they lead I do not know.  

The viewless atoms of the air

The viewless atoms of the air
Around me palpitate and burn,
All heaven dissolves in gold, and earth
Quivers with new-found joy.
Floating on waves of harmony I hear
A stir of kisses, and a sweep of wings;
Mine eyelids close–“What pageant nears?”
“‘Tis Love that passes by!”


Vertaald door Walter Wykes


Gustavo Bécquer (17 februari 1836 – 22 december 1870)
Daniel Migueláñez alsGustavo Bécquer in het theaterstuk ‘El círculo de Hierro’, Madrid, 2018


De Duitse dichter en schrijver Georg Britting werd op 17 februari 1891 geboren in Regensburg. Zie ook alle tags voor Georg Britting op dit blog.


Frühling im Alpenvorland

Nun erblühen schon die Weidenzweige
Und der Mond war gestern rot umraucht
Und im Wald die aufgetauten Steige
Warten darauf, daß man sie gebraucht.

Dieses Licht! Wer fände leicht die Worte,
So es zu benennen, wie es ist?
Bergher kommts! Vom hochgelegnen Orte!
Schön zu sehen, wie es abwärts fließt,

Wie das Wasser rinnt aus einer Quelle,
Ihr vertrauend, stetig, ohne Hast,
Bis im Tal die letzte finstre Stelle
Hell wie Gold wird. Diese schämt sich fast.


Alt-neue Freudigkeit

Die Pappel steht. Man sieht es ihr nicht an,
Daß sie den Frühling spürt, und wie er tut!
Ein bißchen Grün ists, was sie zeigen kann.
Unsichtbar steigt in ihr das junge Blut.

Die Wolke geht. Ihr sieht mans eher an,
Daß sie es fühlt: nun rührt es sich mit Fleiß!
Weiß weht sie hin. Man denkt an einen Schwan
Auf blauem See – zerschmolzen ist sein Eis!

Es schmolz vor kurzem erst. Wer denkt noch dran?
So schnell ist das Vergessen? O der Zeit!
Nun streicht ein neuer Wind an uns heran.
Ein neuer der? Alt–neue Freudigkeit,

Die kommt und geht! Und schau die Pappel an!
Im Vorjahr war es mit ihr ebenso:
Erst kahl im März! Dann laubig! Und ein Mann!
Im grünen Kornhalm wispert schon das Stroh!


Georg Britting (7 februari 1891- 27 april 1964)


De Australische dichter Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson werd geboren op 17 februari 1864 in  Narambla in New South Wales. Zie ook alle tags voor Andrew Paterson op dit blog.


The Stockman

A bright sun and a loosened rein,
A whip whose pealing sound
Rings forth amid the forest trees
As merrily forth we bound
As merrily forth we bound, my boys,
And, by the dawn’s pale light,
Speed fearless on our horses true
From morn till starry night.

“Oh! for a tame and quiet herd,”
I hear some crawler cry;
But give to me the mountain mob
With the flash of their tameless eye
With the flash of their tameless eye, my boys,
As down the rugged spur
Dash the wild children of the woods,
And the horse that mocks at fear.

There’s mischief in you wide-horned steer,
There’s danger in you cow;
Then mount, my merry horsemen all,
The wild mob’s bolting now
The wild mob’s bolting now, my boys,
But ’twas never in their hides
To show the way to the well-trained nags
That are rattling by their sides.

Oh! ’tis jolly to follow the roving herd
Through the long, long summer day,
And camp at night by some lonely creek
When dies the golden ray.
Where the jackass laughs in the old gum tree,
And our quart-pot tea we sip;
The saddle was our childhood’s home,
Our heritage the whip.


Andrew Paterson (17 februari 1864 – 5 april 1941)  


De Amerikaanse schrijfster Margaret Truman werd geboren op 17 februari 1924 in Independence, Missouri. Zie ook alle tags voor Margaret Truman op dit blog.

Uit: The President’s House

“Perhaps the most intriguing White House denizens are the men and women who have worked beside presidents as their spokespersons or confidential advisers. More than anyone, they often shared the reflected glow of White House power. Not all of them were able to deal with it rationally or responsibly, though the vast majority have managed it. For many of them, the experience was more than a little harrowing–and in a few cases, fatal.
I am thinking of one of my most heartbreaking White House memories–the death of my father’s boyhood friend and press secretary, Charlie Ross. Charlie went through high school with Harry Truman and went on to become a top-ranked Washington, D.C., reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. When my father turned to him for help in 1945, Charlie gave up a comfortable salary and rational hours for the ordeal of a White House in which clocks and sensible schedules ceased to exist. Five exhausting years later, during the frantic early months of the Korean War, when newsmen besieged the White House twenty-four hours a day, Charlie Ross collapsed and died of a heart attack at his desk. A weeping Harry Truman said the country had lost a great public servant–and he had lost his best friend.
That memory leads us to another cadre of White House inhabitants, although many presidents and their families might be reluctant to bestow that title on them: the men and women of the media. They, too, participate in the aura of the White House–to the point where they sometimes act as if they run the place. I had a vivid reminder of this mind-set when I came to the White House to talk with Hillary Clinton in 1994 about my book in progress, First Ladies.
A badly misinformed White House policeman told me to enter the mansion through the press briefing room in the West Wing. The minute I stepped through the doorway, a half dozen reporters surrounded me. Why was I there? To advise Hillary on how to improve her performance as First Lady? What did I think of Hillary’s latest hairstyle? Should she hold more press conferences ^ la Eleanor Roosevelt, or fewer ^ la Bess Truman (who held none at all)? I smiled sweetly and said “No comment” to these attempts to get me to put my foot in my mouth.”


Margaret Truman (17 februari 1924 – 29 januari 2008)


De Britse schrijfster Ruth Rendell werd geboren als Ruth Grasemann in Londen op 17 februari 1930. Zie ook alle tags voor Ruth Rendell op dit blog.

Uit: Harm Done

“If she had been, well, a different sort of girl, Wexford wouldn’t have paid so much attention. If she had been more like her friends. He hesitated about the phrase he used even in his own mind, for he liked to keep to his personal brand of political correctness in his thoughts as well as his speech. Not to be absurd about it, not to use ridiculous expressions like intellectually challenged, but not to be insensitive either and call a girl such as Lizzie Cromwell mentally handicapped or retarded. Besides, she wasn’t either of those things, she could read and write, more or less, she had a certain measure of independence and went about on her own. In daylight, at any rate. But she wasn’t fit just the same to be left alone after dark on a lonely road. Come to that, what girl was?
So he thought she was dead. Murdered by someone. What he had seen of Colin Crowne he hadn’t much liked, but he had no reason to suspect him of killing his stepdaughter. True, some years before he married Debbie Cromwell, Crowne had been convicted of assault on a man outside a pub, and he had another conviction for taking and driving away — in other words, stealing — a car. But what did all that amount to? Not much. It was more likely that someone had stopped and offered Lizzie a lift.
“Would she accept a lift from a stranger?” Vine had asked Debbie Crowne.
“Sometimes it’s hard to make her like understand things,” Lizzie’s mother had said. “She’ll sort of say yes and no and smile — she smiles a lot, she’s a happy kid — but you don’t know if it’s like sunk in. Do you, Col?”
“I’ve told her never talk to strangers,” said Colin Crowne. “I’ve told her till I’m blue in the face, but what do I get? A smile and a nod and another smile, then she’ll just say something else, something loony, like the sun’s shining or what’s for tea.”
“Not loony, Col,” said the mother, obviously hurt.
“You know what I mean.”
So when she had been gone three nights and it was the morning of the third day, Colin Crowne and the neighbors on either side of the Crownes on the Muriel Campden Estate started searching for Lizzie. Wexford had already talked to her friends and the driver of the bus she should have been on but hadn’t been on, and Inspector Burden and Sergeant Vine had talked to dozens of motorists who used that road daily around about that time. When the rain became torrential, which happened at about four in the afternoon, they called off the search for that day, but they were set to begin again at first light. Taking DC Lynn Fancourt with him, Wexford went over to Puck Road for another talk with Colin and Debbie Crowne.”


Ruth Rendell (Londen, 17 februari 1930)


De Russische dichter en schrijver Fjodor Sologoeb  (eig. Fjodor Koezmitsj Teternikov) werd geboren in Sint-Petersburg op 17 februari 1863. Zie ook alle tags voor Fjodor Sologoeb op dit blog.


The Sacred World’s Unquestioned

The sacred world’s unquestioned Pharaoh –
I filled it with my spirit’s breath
And shall not ever have a hero
Nor in the heavens nor on earth.

I’ll hold in secret that I breed on
My own sacramental light;
And toil like slave, but for my freedom,
I call for darkness, peace and night.


I Composed These Rhythmical Sounds

I composed these rhythmical sounds
To make lesser the thrust of my soul,
And to draw the heart’s endless wounds,
In the sea where the silver strings roll,

To make sound, like nightingales’ ode,
My poor dream’s ever beautiful voice,
And to force the song’s smile from lips closed
And blazed on by long sadness and loss.


Fjodor Sologoeb (17 februari 1863 – 5 december 1927)


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 17e februari ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.

Emmy Hennings, Mori Ōgai, Gustavo Bécquer, Georg Britting, Andrew Paterson, Margaret Truman, Ruth Rendell, Fjodor Sologoeb

De Duitse dichteres, schrijfster en caberetiere Emmy Hennings werd geboren op 17 februari 1885 in Flensburg. Zie ook alle tags voor Emmy Hennings op dit blog.


After the Cabaret

I see the early morning sun
At five a.m. I homeward stroll.
The lights still burn in my hotel.
The cabaret is finally done.
In shadows children hunker down.
The farmers bring their goods to town.
You go to church, silent and old
grave sound of church-bells in the air,
and then a girl with untamed hair
wanders up all blear and cold:
“Love me, free of every sin.
Look, I’ve kept watch many nights .”



And nighttime when there is no light
and pictures fall right off the walls,
then someone laughs so big and bright
Someone’s long hands grab for me
And then a lady with green hair
who looks at me so very sad —
she was once a mother she swears.
She cannot bear the weight of pain
(I press the thorns into my heart
and then stop full of peace,
and I will suffer every hurt
it’s what is asked of me.)


Vertaald door Howard A. Landman


Emmy Hennings (17 februari 1885 – 10 augustus 1948)
Portret door Alexander Graf, 1951

Lees verder “Emmy Hennings, Mori Ōgai, Gustavo Bécquer, Georg Britting, Andrew Paterson, Margaret Truman, Ruth Rendell, Fjodor Sologoeb”

Chaim Potok, Mo Yan, Frederik Hetmann, Emmy Hennings, Mori Ōgai

De Amerikaanse schrijver Chaim Potok werd geboren in New York City op 17 februari 1929. Zie ook alle tags voor Chaim Potok op dit blog.

Uit: The Chosen

“On a Sunday afternoon in early June, the fifteen members of my team met with our gym instructor in the play yard of our school. It was a warm day, and the sun was bright on the asphalt floor of the yard. The gym instructor was a short, chunky man in his early thirties who taught in the mornings in a nearby public high school and supplemented his income by teaching in our yeshiva during the afternoons. He wore a white polo shirt, white pants, and white sweater, and from the awkward way the little black skullcap sat perched on his round, balding head, it was clearly apparent that he was not accustomed to wearing it with any sort of regularity. When he talked he frequently thumped his right fist into his left palm to emphasize a point. He walked on the balls of his feet, almost in imitation of a boxer’s ring stance, and he was fanatically addicted to professional baseball. He had nursed our softball team along for two years, and by a mixture of patience, luck, shrewd manipulations during some tight ball games, and hard, fist-thumping harangues calculated to shove us into a patriotic awareness of the importance of athletics and physical fitness for the war effort, he was able to mold our original team of fifteen awkward fumblers into the top team of our league. His name was Mr. Galanter, and all of us wondered why he was not off somewhere fighting in the war.
During my two years with the team, I had become quite adept at second base and had also developed a swift underhand pitch that would tempt a batter into a swing but would drop into a curve at the last moment and slide just below the flaying bat for a strike. Mr. Galanter always began a ball game by putting me at second base and would use me as a pitcher only in very tight moments, because, as he put it once, “My baseball philosophy is grounded on the defensive solidarity of the infield.”
That afternoon we were scheduled to play the winning team of another neighborhood league, a team with a reputation for wild, offensive slugging and poor fielding. Mr. Galanter said he was counting upon our infield to act as a solid defensive front. Throughout the warm-up period, with only our team in the yard, he kept thumping his right fist into his left palm and shouting at us to be a solid defensive front.”

Chaim Potok (17 februari 1929 – 23 juli 2002)

Lees verder “Chaim Potok, Mo Yan, Frederik Hetmann, Emmy Hennings, Mori Ōgai”

Frederik Hetmann, Emmy Hennings, Chaim Potok, Mori Ōgai

De Duitse schrijver Frederik Hetmann (eig. Hans-Christian Kirsch) werd geboren op 17 februari 1934 in Breslau. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 februari 2010 en ook mijn blog van 17 februari 2011.


Uit: Dichter leben (Über Christoffel von Grimmelshausen)

“Der Weg ins Paradies

Der Junge mochte zwölf, dreizehn Jahre alt sein. Vor ihm stand eine große Trommel und neben ihm einer von den Kaiserlichen, ein Mann in einer abgerissenen Uniform, mit einem fuchsfarbenen Schnauzbart und mit von zersprungenen Adern durchzogenen Wangen.

»Wenn die erste Linie vorrückt«, erklärte er dem Jungen, »trommelst du langsam drei Schläge, die ihrem Schritt angepasst sind. Dann einen Schlag lang Pause. Das ist, damit sie aufmerken und nicht einfach stur vorangehen. Gleich darauf werden schon ziemlich viele ins Gras beißen. Nun kommt die zweite Linie. Jene brauchen schon etwas mehr Anstachelung.

Also schlägst du jetzt rasch, wiederum drei Schläge, machst eine Pause und fügst noch einmal drei Schläge hinzu. Unterdessen wird auch die zweite Linie ziemlich viele Lücken aufweisen. Die Männer sind jetzt eingeschüchtert, weil sie ständig über die toten und verwundeten Kameraden stolpern. Deswegen musst du sie mit deinem Schlag aufmuntern.

Er sollte nicht mehr so dumpf klingen wie zu Anfang. Er sollte rasch kommen wie für die zweite Linie, aber noch etwas spritziger. Er muss denen, die in der dritten Linie voranrücken, Mut geben. Deshalb schlägst du nun, wenn du drei rasche Schläge getrommelt hast, einmal mit dem Stecken auf den Trommelrand. Das ist das Geräusch, von dem man sagt, dass es einen den Tod vergessen lässt. Hast du das verstanden?«

Der Junge nickte lebhaft.

»Gut, dann nimm dir jetzt die Trommel und geh dort hinten in das Wäldchen und übe. Du darfst beim üben nicht mit voller Kraft schlagen, sondern ein wenig leiser, gedämpfter als morgen in der Schlacht. Aber dass du mir wenigstens eine halbe Stunde übst.”


Frederik Hetmann (17 februari 1934 – 1 juni 2006)

Lees verder “Frederik Hetmann, Emmy Hennings, Chaim Potok, Mori Ōgai”

Chaim Potok, Mori Ōgai, Gustavo Bécquer, Georg Britting, Andrew Paterson, Margaret Truman

De Amerikaanse schrijver Chaim Potok werd geboren in New York City op 17 februari 1929. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 februari 2007 Zie ook mijn blog van 17 februari 2008 en ook mijn blog van 17 februari 2009 en ook mijn blog van 17 februari 2010.


Uit: My name is Asher Lev


My father’s great-great-grandfather was in his early years the manager of the vast estates of a carousing Russian nobleman who when drunk sometimes killed serfs; once, in an act of wild drunkenness, he burned down a village and people died. You see how a goy behaves, I would be told by my father and mother. The people of the sitra achra behave this way. They are evil and from the Other Side. Jews do not behave this way. My father’s great-great-grandfather had transformed those estates into a source of immense wealth for his employer as well as himself. In his middle years, he began to travel. Why did he travel so much? I would ask. To do good deeds and bring the Master of the Universe into the world, my father would respond. To find people in need and to comfort and help them, my mother would say. I was told about him so often during my very early years that he began to appear quite frequently in my dreams: a man of mythic dimensions, tall, dark-bearded, powerful of mind and body; a brilliant entrepreneur; a beneficent supporter of academies of learning; a legendary traveler, and author of the Hebrew work Journeys to Distant Lands. That great man would come to me in my dreams and echo my father’s queries about the latest bare wall I had decorated and the sacred margins I had that day filled with drawings. It was no joy waking up after a dream about that man. He left a taste of thunder in my mouth.

My father’s father, the man whose name I bear, was a scholar and recluse in his early and middle years, a dweller in the study halls of synagogues and academies. He was never described to me, but I pictured him as slight of body and huge of head, with eyelids swollen from lack of sleep, face pale, lips dry, the veins showing blue along his cheeks and temples. In his youth, he earned the name “ilui,” genius, a term not lightly bestowed by the Jews of Eastern Europe. And by the time he was twenty he had come to be known as the Genius of Mozyr, after the Russian town in which he lived. Shortly before his fiftieth birthday, he abruptly and mysteriously left Mozyr and, with his wife and children, journeyed to Ladov and became a member of the Russian Hasidic sect led by the Rebbe of Ladov. He began to travel throughout the Soviet Union as an emissary of the Rebbe. Why did he travel so much? I once asked. To bring the Master of the Universe into the world, my father replied.“



Chaim Potok (17 februari 1929 – 23 juli 2002)



Lees verder “Chaim Potok, Mori Ōgai, Gustavo Bécquer, Georg Britting, Andrew Paterson, Margaret Truman”

Mori Ōgai, Georg Britting, Andrew Paterson, Margaret Truman, Maria Rossetti, Ruth Rendell

De Japanse schrijver Mori Ōgai werd geboren op 17 februari 1862 als Mori Rintaro in het dorpTsuwano in Iwami. Hij was de oudste zoon in een artsenfamilie. In 1872 verhuisde Mori met zijn familie naar Tokio, waar hij twee jaar later begon met studies geneeskunde aan de Universiteit van Tokio. Rond deze tijd maakte hij voor het eerst kennis met poëzie. In het bijzonder tanka en Chinese gedichten. Wat later begon hij ook romans te lezen. In 1881 werd Mori Ōgai de jongste persoon ooit die een diploma geneeskunde kreeg aan de Universiteit van Tokio.  Na zijn graduatie begon Mori een carrière als legerarts. In 1884 moest hij van de regering voor vier jaar in Duitsland gaan studereren. Hij ontdekte zo dat er een groot verschil bestond tussen de Europese en Japanse literatuur.  Toen hij terugkwam in Japan, probeerde Mori Ōgai om niet alleen de Japanse geneeskunde te moderniseren, maar ook de Japanse literatuur. Hij deed dit onder andere door in 1889 zijn eerste werk Omokage te publiceren. Het was een collectie van vertaalde westerse gedichten. Datzelfde jaar trouwde hij met Akamatsu Toshiko. Hun huwelijk bleef echter maar een jaar duren. In het jaar van hun scheiding publiceerde hij zijn eerste roman, Maihime. Dit ging over een Japanner die een affaire had met een Duits meisje. Het is één van de werken die beschouwd wordt als het begin van de moderne Japanse literatuur.


Uit: The Wild Geese (Vertaald door Kingo Ochiai en Sanford Goldstein)


„THIS STORY happened long ago, but by chance I remember that it occurred in 1880, the thirteenth year of Emperor Meiji’s reign. That date comes back to me so precisely because at the time I lodged in the Kamijo, a boardinghouse which was just opposite the Iron Gate of Tokyo University, and because my room was right next to that of the hero of the story. When a fire broke out inside the house in the fourteenth year of Meiji, I was one of those who lost all of their possessions when the Kamijo burned to the ground. What I’m going to put down, I remember, took place just one year before that disaster.

Almost all the boarders in the Kamijo were medical students, except for the few patients who went to the hospital attached to the university. It’s been my observation that a residence of this kind is controlled by one of its members, a lodger who rises to a position of authority because of his money and shrewdness. When he passes through the corridor before the landlady’s room, he always makes it a point to speak to her as she sits by the square charcoal brazier. Sometimes he’ll squat opposite her and exchange a few words of gossip. Sometimes he seems to think only of himself when he throws

sake parties in his room and puts the landlady out by making her prepare special dishes, yet the truth is that he takes care to see that she gets something extra for her troubles.
Usually this type of man wins respect and takes advantage of it by having his own way in the house.

The man in the room next to mine was also powerful in the Kamijo, but he was of a different breed.

This man, a student called Okada, was a year behind me, so he wasn’t too far from graduating. In order to explain Okada’s character, I must speak first of his striking appearance. What I really mean is that he was handsome. But not handsome in the sense of being pale and delicately thin and tall. He had a healthy color and a strong build. I have hardly ever come across a man with such a face. If you force me to make a comparison, he somewhat resembled the young Bizan Kawakami, whom I got to know later than the time of this story, and who became destitute and died in misery. Okada, a champion rower in those days, far surpassed the writer Bizan in physique.“



Mori Ōgai (17 februari 1862 – 9 juli 1922)



De Duitse dichter en schrijver Georg Britting werd op 17 februari 1891 geboren in Regensburg. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 februari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 17 februari 2009.


Zorn im späten Februar


Schön war der Föhn.  Er blies die hellen Flöten. 

Sie sind verstummt.  Und Winter herrschet jetzt. 

Die armen Hasen sind in argen Nöten:

Sie hatte schon das erste Gras geletzt!


Weiß liegt das Feld in schauerlicher Öde,

Und alle Schatten sind so schwarz wie Tusche.

Die Raben freuts.  Sie flügeln, und im Husche

Erwischen sie die Maus, und die stirbt schnöde


Unter dem scharfen Hieb der Schnabeltiere.

Nur zu, nur zu!  Erfriere Welt, erfriere,

Frier tief hinunter bis zu Krebs und Fisch,

Du letztes Lämpchen, leer von Öl, erlisch!


Komm, Eisbär, komm, und heb die weißen Tatzen!

Erfriere, Welt, an diesem Wintertag!

Ihr Wölfe kommt, und ihr, sibirische Katzen,

Kommt auch heran, weist eure wüsten Fratzen:

Heut ist es so, wies eure Seele mag!



Die Sonnenblume


Über den Gartenzaun schob sie

Ihr gelbes Löwenhaupt,

Zwischen den Bohnen erhob sie

Sich, gold und gelb überstaubt.


Die Sonne kreist im Blauen

Nicht größer, als ihr gelbes Rad

Zwischen den grünen Stauden,

Den Bohnen und jungem Salat.




Georg Britting (7 februari 1891- 27 april 1964)
In de Münchense Ruhmeshalle


De Australische dichter Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson werd geboren op 17 februari 1864 in  Narambla in New South Wales. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 februari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 17 februari 2009.



A Singer of the Bush 


There is waving of grass in the breeze

And a song in the air,

And a murmur of myriad bees

That toil everywhere.

There is scent in the blossom and bough,

And the breath of the Spring

Is as soft as a kiss on a brow —

And Spring-time I sing.


There is drought on the land, and the stock

Tumble down in their tracks

Or follow — a tottering flock —

The scrub-cutter’s axe.

While ever a creature survives

The axes shall swing;

We are fighting with fate for their lives —

And the combat I sing.



The Plains 


A land, as far as the eye can see, where the waving grasses grow

Or the plains are blackened and burnt and bare, where the false mirages go

Like shifting symbols of hope deferred – land where you never know.


Land of the plenty or land of want, where the grey Companions dance,

Feast or famine, or hope or fear, and in all things land of chance,

Where Nature pampers or Nature slays, in her ruthless, red, romance.


And we catch a sound of a fairy’s song, as the wind goes whipping by,

Or a scent like incense drifts along from the herbage ripe and dry

– Or the dust storms dance on their ballroom floor, where the bones of the cattle lie.




Andrew Paterson (17 februari 1864 – 5 april 1941)
Standbeeld in Gladesville


De Amerikaanse schrijfster Margaret Truman werd geboren op 17 februari 1924 in Independence, Missouri. Zij was de enige dochter uit het huwelijk van president Harry S. Truman en. Bess Truman. In 1956 trouwde zij met de journalist Clifton Daniel.
Zij begon in de late jaren veertig aan een loopbaan als zangeres, maar richtte zich later op het schrijven. Zij schreef een biografie over haar vader, een boek over dieren in het Wiite Huis en had groot succes met een serie detectives, om te begionnen met „Murder in the White House“ uit 1980.


Uit: The President’s House


„The last time I was in Washington, D.C., I walked by the White House on the way to dinner at a nearby restaurant. Hidden floodlights made the historic building glow like a mansion in a vision or a dream. Suddenly I thought: I am not the woman who lived in that house more than fifty years ago. She is a completely different person. I barely know her.

The words whispered in my mind like a voice from another world. I was remembering, or trying to remember, what it meant to be the daughter of the president of the United States, living in that shining shimmering house. The one inescapable thing I recalled was the difference. I have lived in several houses and apartments, and spent some time in splendid establishments, including a few royal palaces. But not one of them–or all of them together–can compare to the feeling I recalled from my White House days.

That was when I resolved to write this book about one of the most mysterious, terrifying, exalting, dangerous, fascinating houses in the world. It is a house that has changed people in amazing, unexpected ways. It is a house that has broken hearts and minds. It is a house that has made some people weep when they walked out the door for the last time–and others feel like escapees from a maximum security prison. Some marriages have been saved within those pristine white walls. Others have been irrevocably ruined.

Children have played marvelously clever games inside and outside this unique piece of architecture. Other children have twisted and turned in their death throes while their weeping parents, arguably the most powerful persons on the North American continent, clutched them in their impotent arms. In those same second-floor bedrooms, radiant brides have dressed in virginal white and descended to meet loving husbands as the world applauded.“



Margaret Truman (17 februari 1924 – 29 januari 2008)


De Engelse schrijfster  Maria Francesca Rossetti werd geboren in Londen op 17 februari 1827. Rossetti was een dochter van de oorspronkelijk uit Italië afkomstige dichter Gabriele Rossetti en de oudste zus van de eveneens als schrijvers actieve William Michael Rossetti en Christina Georgina Rossetti en van de dichter en kunstschilder Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Christina droeg haar gedicht Goblin Market op aan haar zuster. In 1871 verscheen haar boek The Shadow of Dante: Being an essay towards studying himself, his world, and his pilgrimage. In haar latere leven werd Maria een Anglicaanse non. Zij werd begraven op Brompton Cemetery in het westen van Londen.


Uit: A Shadow Of Dante


„DANTE is a name unlimited in place and period. Not  Italy, but the Universe, is his birthplace ; not the

fourteenth century, but all Time, is his epoch. He rises  before us and above us like the Pyramids awful, massive,  solitary ; the embodiment of the character, the realization of  the science, of his clime and day; yet the outcome of a  far wider past, the standard of a far wider future. Like the  Pyramids, again, he is known to all by name and by pictorial representation ; must we not add, like them unknown  to most by actual sight and presence ? Who among us has  indeed experienced
the soul-subduing hush of his solemnity ?  who beheld all average heights dwarfed by his sublimity ?

Even of his fellow-linguists how many have read his great  poem through ? One of themselves has said it few have  gone beyond the Inferno ; nay, most have stopped short at  two passages of the Inferno Francesca da Rimini and il  Conte Ugolino. And of his fellow-cosmopolitans how many

have read even so much ? If in cultivated society we start  him as a topic of conversation, how far is our interlocutor  likely to sympathize with our vivid interest? How many  young people could we name as having read Dante as a  part of their education ?“



Maria Rossetti (17 februari 1827 – 24 november 1876)


De Britse schrijfster Ruth Rendell werd geboren als Ruth Grasemann in Londen op 17 februari 1930. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 februari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 17 februari 2008 en ook mijn blog van 17 februari 2009.


Uit: End in Tears


When he lifted it off the seat the backpack felt heavier than when he had first put it into the car. He lowered it on to the soft ferny ground. Then he got back into the driving seat to move the car deep into a cave made by hawthorn bushes and brambles, and the hop vines which climbed over everything in this wood. It was late June and the vegetation very dense and luxuriant.
Getting out again and standing back to take a good look, he could barely see the car. Probably he only saw it because he knew it was there. No one else would notice it. He squatted down, hoisted the backpack up on to his shoulders and slowly stood up to his full height. The movement reminded him of something and it was a moment before he realised what it was: lifting up his little son to sit on his shoulders. A hundred years ago, it seemed. The backpack was lighter than the boy but felt heavier to him.
He was afraid that if he stood upright the pack would jerk him backwards and break his spine. Of course it wouldn’t. It just felt that way. All the same, he wouldn’t stand upright, wouldn’t even try it. Instead, he stooped, bending almost double. It wasn’t far. He could walk like this the two hundred yards to the bridge. Anyone seeing him from a distance in this half-light would have thought him a humpbacked man.
There was no one to see. The twisty country lane wound round Yorstone Wood and over the bridge. He could have brought the car right up to the bridge but that way it would have been seen, so he had driven off the lane along a ride and then through a clearing to find the hop-grown cave.“



Ruth Rendell (Londen, 17 februari 1930)